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Thoughts and analysis on Braydon Coburn's new contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning

Just what are the Bolts getting by retaining Braydon Coburn in the defensive corps?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

On one hand, I'm a bit surprised by the contract extension for Braydon Coburn. On the other hand, it does make some sense. To repeat today’s news, Coburn’s been signed by the Lightning to a three year extension that will take him through the 2018-19 season with an annual cap hit of $3.7 million per year. All in all, this is not a bad contract number even though most of Coburn’s time will likely be spent on the third defensive pair and on the penalty kill. This is also an $800,000 per year decrease from his previous contract.

One down side is that it has been reported Coburn will have a no trade clause through the first two years of the deal and a modified no trade clause during the final year. He is also on the wrong side of 30 and it's very possible he'll slow down and become more injury-prone as his deal progresses.

This year there’s been speculation that Coburn would not be retained along with a presumed buyout or trade of Matthew Carle, opening spots on the roster for Slater Koekkoek and Anthony DeAngelo along with other potential players from the system or free agency. Instead, this allows the team to use slow progression on both Koekkoek and DeAngelo. Head coach Jon Cooper demonstrated that he doesn’t trust Koekkoek during the young defenseman’s latest call up, and does not think he’s ready for the NHL. It’s unknown if Coop’s opinion will change over the offseason and training camp next summer. We’ll find out then. As for Anthony DeAngelo, he’s definitely not ready for the NHL. His defensive game still needs major work.

One thing GM Steve Yzerman has also shown in his dealings in recent years is that he does not want to be bitten by injuries and lack of depth on the blue line. Coburn’s extension further solidifies the blue line while Koekkoek, DeAngelo and other Lightning defensive prospects are honed at a steady but gradual pace.

While Coburn doesn’t put up many points, he’s a defensive stalwart. Further, he's flexible in being able to play the left or right side much like Jason Garrison does. That flexibility will allow the team to continue to develop and use Nikita Nesterov on the third pair as well as bring Koekkoek along at some point next season. Coburn’s also experienced to the point he’ll reach 700 games played by the end of 2015-16. That goes along with the 98 playoff games he's already accumulated in his career.

Taking a look at his advanced stats paints a picture of what we've been getting from him and hopefully what we can expect to get going forward.

Here's his HERO (Horizontal Evaluative Rankings Optic) from the past three years courteous of Own the Puck.

Coburn Hero Cart

Braydon Coburn Hero Cart, courteousy of OwnThePuck

As you can quickly see from this chart, his point production has been bordering on top-four production. But the point that sticks out the most is the CA60 RelTM. What that is showing if his Corsi against per 60 minutes of 5v5 ice time relative to his teammates. This shows he's producing in that realm more like a top pair defenseman to suppress shots.

Let's pick a handful of defensemen that are earning a similar AAV and are at a similar age as Coburn and see how he fares compared to them.

Josh Gorges Buffalo Sabres: 31 years old, $3.9 million AAV through 2017-18, 661 Career games, 68 career playoff games

Josh Gorges Hero Chart

Justin Braun San Jose Sharks: 29 years old, $3.8 million AAV through 2019-20, 344 career NHL games, 24 career playoff games

Justin Braun Hero Chart

Johnny Oduya Dallas Stars: 34 years old, $3.75 million AAV through 2016-17, 725 career NHL games, 89 career playoff games.

Johnny Oduya Hero Chart

Ladislav Smid Calgary Flames: 30 years old, $3.5 million AAV through 2016-17, 583 career NHL games, 0 career playoff games

Ladislav Smid Hero Chart

Trevor Daley Pittsburgh Penguins: 32 years old, $3.3 million AAV through 2016-17, 815 career NHL games, 35 career playoff games

Trevor Daley Hero Chart

While there is certainly some variance between these five players, with each having different strengths and weaknesses, Braydon Coburn does not look out of place within this group. Josh Gorges and Smid look worse on paper on both the defensive and offensive side of the puck. Trevor Daley is an offensive wiz, but a defensive liability. Johnny Oduya and Justin Braun are well rounded players. I feel like in this group, Coburn falls right around Braun behind Daley and Oduya and is clearly better than Gorges and Smid.

All in all, this isn’t a bad deal for the Lightning. They keep some depth with a quality, veteran defenseman. They aren't rushed into deploying defensive prospects that may not be ready for the NHL depth. They also gain a little bit of value at his contract price compared to some of his peers in the same price range.

It may not be the sexiest of signings but it's a signing that will work out for the club in the long run.